You hear about Road to Hana, Haleakala National Park, Maui’s awesome food trucks and other island institutions, such as Mama’s Fish House. They are all fantastic... but with popularity comes crowds! And besides fighting droves of people, these spots can be tough to get into in the first place, too.
So, we’re sharing seven activity ideas + places to visit that are just slightly off the beaten path, yet so fun and uniquely Maui!
Maui Tropical Plantation: Open since 1984, Maui Tropical Plantation has been a staple on this island for many years and recently reopened in mid-2021 after a gorgeous renovation. You can find unique boutiques, the country store with fresh local produce and Maui-made gifts to take home, as well as delicious restaurant Cafe O'Lei and thrilling activities like zip-lining across the beautiful property at the foot of the West Maui Mountains.
One of Maui's many art galleries: Many galleries in Maui are interactive or allow you to see the artist in action! Not only that, but there is so much creativity here on island so even just taking some time to wander in and out of the galleries is so enjoyable. One of our favorite off the beaten path galleries to explore is Makai Glass, just outside Makawao in Haliimaile. Watch the glass blowers work in the fire from the second floor balcony, then head next door to the Haliimaile Distilling Company for a cocktail!
Ali'i Kula Lavender: Being in this outdoor space is reminiscent of a European garden in the country, but with endless coastal island views! Be sure to get a cup of their lavender tea after walking the grounds, and bring home some lavender bath products or chocolates made from the farm's own lavender gardens.
Ocean Vodka Organic Farm + Distillery: As with Ali'i Kula Lavender, Ocean Vodka is located upcountry along the slopes of Haleakala and offers incredible views of Maui island! But the views are not the only thing to enjoy - the food and cocktails are fantastic, too (they even offer delicious mocktails for those who aren't big on alcoholic libations), and the live music is tough to beat. Be sure to get a seat well before sunset when it fills up quickly!
Makawao Forest Reserve: This gorgeous forest offers trails embedded among great redwoods and feels like a truly unique area from the rest of Maui’s beach vibe! Within the forest there are miles of trails to choose from and escape into a peaceful and really special environment.
South Maui Gardens: What looks like a tropical plant nursery in the middle of south shore's Kihei town is actually a community-forward oasis! Intermingled with the nursery's wares, you'll find a coffee shop, bakery, plenty of seating and often times live music. Walk to the other side of the property and you'll come across a bustling food truck park with culinary options from all over the world. South Maui Gardens also hosts weekly events, such as movie nights, hula show, artisan market and yoga classes.
Lumeria, Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center or private-guided activities: There are many creative folks who reside on Maui and offer wonderfully unique classes to enjoy! Check out Lumeria's wellness-focused offerings, Hui No'eau's artistic opportunities, and even locally-guided activities on Airbnb experiences.